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Ireland boasts one of the lowest loneliness levels in Europe

Irish people also get happier as they get older, according to a recent Quality of Life survey.

Image: bluelake via www.shutterstock.com

WE VOLUNTEER, WE’RE not bothered by noise and we’re among the least lonely in Europe.

However, a new survey looking at the Quality of Life in Europe hasn’t omitted the impact of the recession on Irish people’s lives.

High unemployment rates, a falling trust in public institutions and financial difficulties are also highlighted in the report. There was also a large decrease in mental well-being (MHI).

The largest relative decreases in trust levels compared to pre-crisis years were seen in Ireland, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Romania and Sweden.

The EQLA looks at issues “pertinent to the lives of European citizens”, including employment, income, education, housing, family, health, work-life balance, life satisfaction and perceived quality of society.

People living in Ireland rated their life satisfaction at above average, with the nation coming in eighth on the leader board. However, the figure has dropped from 7.6 to 7.2 since 2007.

Happiness levels reached a level of 7.7 out of 10, also indicating a drop from the level 8 recorded five years ago.

Ireland is one of few countries where life satisfaction increases with each age group and older groups are significantly happier than younger people.

Determinants of life satisfaction include age, family structure, education, ability to work, occupation or role, income and health status.

The economic downturn has seen about 10 per cent more people in Ireland report difficulties in making ends meet.

Other Findings

In terms of household size and composition, more than half of respondents said they were married or living with their partners. However, single people have never been married are most common in Ireland (30 per cent) and Malta (33 per cent).

About 15,000 children were captured through this survey by their parents responding. The number of ‘own children’ was highest for those living in Ireland (1.8) and Cyprus (1.7).

Irish people were noted as having the lowest levels of ‘feeling lonely’, along with Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands. They are also amongst the best at giving of their time freely.

On average, one in three Europeans carried out some type of unpaid work in 2011. The highest proportions of both regular and overall number of volunteers are found in Austria, Sweden and Ireland. The State also boasts the highest volume of people willing to spend more time in voluntary work.

When asked about problems in their neighbourhoods, Europeans were most likely to complain about litter, noise, air quality and traffic congestion. Noise and ‘quality of the air’ were reported least often in Ireland.

Irish people are also happy with the quality of their homes, reporting less dampness, rot and space shortages.

The survey asked people whether they see a lot, some or no tension between various social groups. The perception of a lot of tension between young and old is lowest in Ireland, Finland and Denmark. Irish people also saw fewer tensions than average between men and women and racial and ethnic groups.

1,051 interviews were carried out by Ipsos MRBI for the survey across all age categories.

Download the full report here>

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